tv MSNBC News Live MSNBC January 5, 2011 12:00pm-1:00pm EST
>> i think most americans believe that congress is broken. it's time to fix it that. will be my number one goal. >> they now hold the advantage. 243 to 193 democrats in the house. among the new face, 87 are republicans, many tee partiers, ready to shake things up. didn't come to watch. i'm here to work. >> after the swearing in and ceremony, the house gets right to business. first up, voting on new rules to make their work more open to the public, put more information online, and cut lawmakers' own spending by 5%. >> so the spending spree is over as far as we're concerned here in the house. >> tomorrow the republicans will read the entire kons tugs on the house floor, and next week gop leaders will call for a vote to repeal the health care law, a move democrats say is a waste of time. >> the first vote out of the gate will be to add about a
trillion dollars to the deficit. it's total hypocrisy. >> two weeks off starting monday in the senate democrats retain a slim majority of 53-47 including just nine new democrats, the smallest freshman class from either party since 1915. five-term senator john mccain has some advice for the newbies. >> first six months you're there you're going to wonder how you got there. the next six months you're going to wonder how all the others got there. >> nbc's capitol hills news correspondent nancy o'donnell. >> you'd setons of crowds, family members, supporters and well-wishers are packing the galleries to watch this all unfold. what we'll see on camera is the ceremony sort of unfolding leading to john boehner officially being the speaker of the house.
we'll see nancy pelosi hand over the gavel and make remarks as well. we'll see michigan's john dingell, the longest serving member of congress will give john bane ter oath of office and we'll hear from john banener his first address as speaker at about 2:00. we've gotten a bit of a look ahead of what he's going to say. in part he will say we'll not always get it right. we'll not always agree what is right. a great deal of scar tissue has built up on both sides of the aisle. we cannot ignore that, nor should we, my believe has also been we can disagree wut being disagreeable with each other. boehner will also talk in greater detail about some of the changes he wants to make about how the house does its business including things like trying to open up legislation to make it more visible, thinks like that. he'll spell a lot of that out. certainly we'll here some of this flourish of the first day of 112. >> as far as nancy pelosi goes,
she's changed her twitter han e handle. here's what she said leading up to this day. >> i am still speaker of the house. for a few -- a short period of time. >> so what is her role now for democrats? >> it'll will be interesting. she's doing something that many speakers who see their majorities fall do not do. she's staying on. many step aside and nancy pelosi decided she wants to stay in leadership and we expect she will oh fish lal be named the minority leader and so she will still be in charge of how democrats organize themselves within the house and she'll still be a big face of the party. we exclusively refer to former speakers as speaker. we have a title shift. she retains that title but while she changes over to minority
speaker that title will change. there's some controversy about that. some democrats had hoped that those who had been leading the party in congress would step aside, but she's here and she says she will wish the republicans well and look forward. contessa? >> kelly, thank you very much. what you're seeing on the left side of the screen is the live pictures as the house proceeds with the beginning of prayer and the ledge of allegiance shortly. we're keeping an eye on the proceedings as the house begins this new session. out with the old, in with the new. at the white house as well we learn that press secretary robert gibbs is stepping down from his position and leaving 1600 pennsylvania avenue. it's the first of many expected changes in the west wing. mike viqueira is now live on the north lawn. and, mike, give us sort of the public face of the administration to the public. it will be a significant change. >> reporter: it will be. and there perhaps is no more
public face from the west wing after the president than robert gibbs. s this is an individual who has been with the president as a very close adviser since 2004 when barack obama first ran for the united states senate. he has extraordinary access, much more than virtually any press secretary in recent memory to the president himself. he's known as one of his closest advisers. and though he's had at times a contentious relationship with the white house press corps -- every press secretary does -- he does have the ability with the press because we know he has the ear of the president and he talks with the president on a regular basis. he's not only leaving the podium, contessa, he's leaving the white house altogether. he's going to be serving as an outside political adviser. this is going to take some place after the state of the union, which is expected in about three weeks, an early february departure for robert gibbs. the president says his successor
should come within about two weeks. he or she should be named. went only to state he's had a six-year stretch going 24/7 with relatively modest pay. i think it's natural, says the president, for someone like robert to step back, reflect, retool, and that brings about challenges to the white house. other changes are on tap. we've talked about david axelrod who's going to leave to go back to the president and chicago to open up the campaign office there with an eye toward 2012. he's going to be replaced by another. larry summers, of course, stepping down. we expect someone to be named there very shortly and perhaps most significantry, the chief of staff at the white house. pete rouse. you remember when rahm emanuel went back to chicago. now rouse in contention 'long with bill daley, the brother of
richard daley back in chicago again. >> i was reading the president was hoping to establish a personal relationship with bill daley because he did not have one previously. so we'll be watching for those announcements. mike, thank you very much. >> okay. >> let me bring in democratic strategist julian epstein. he served on the staff committee and house committee and republican strategist joe watkins who's an msnbc political analyst. good to see you both today. >> good to see you, contessa. >> how does john boehner at this point, leading the house, try to achieve legislative goals and at the same time appeal to the loud faxes of the republican party? >> you have to remember that all politicians are local of course. if you're a member of congress you have to care about what the people in your district say. so every member of congress has to answer ultimately to the people who elected him or her, and i think john boehner will do a great job. he's got to work with the new folks who are elected.
many of them are tea party folks. he has to work with republicans who have been there for a long time and he has to work with democrats. i think he's going to do that. he wants to do things for the american people, put this economy to work and help get the american people back on track. >> it's going to be a bit of a shift for them not having the majority in the house. so how much of their job is playing defense? >> well, i think that is a job of the minority. i also think it's the job to point out the failures of the majority. and i think that what you're going to see with this majority, all the signs, of course, are very similar to what we saw in 1995 and i remember it very cheerily because i was there. i think clearly the republicans are making same mistake democrats made in 2010, which is playing too close to the box. they want to do the insurance companies a big favor by repealing health care. we haven't seen anything from the republicans by way of job creation, particularly now that the tax benefits have been extended for everyone. >> let me jump in. the republicans would argue that by repealing health care reform,
you're repealing a job-killing law. >> that's exactly right. >> that's the argument they make. but it's not going to go anywhere, so i'm curious -- >> i think it's a real stretch, contessa. you have major segments of the business community supporting it. and the criticism that the obama administration got is it spent too much time focusing on things like health care and financial reform and not enough on jobs and now that the tax bill has been extended you see virtually nothing from the republicans in terms of ha they want to do in terms of creating jobs. >> well, joe, the thing is that there's a tightrope there because when you have john boehner going in and saying, look, your priority is to cut $100 billion from the nation's spending, and the economy is here just barely recovering from the edge of disaster, is there a real risk for republicans here about this priorities back
fooirg? >> i don't think so. >> right. i'm being told right now to point out on the live pictures that joe biden is just now swearing in -- i can't see through the picture. oh, the new senators in the senate. the first group of senators here, about four. so one of the new senators is blumenthal. and then that's the job of the vice president today to go in to the senate and swear in these new lawmakers on the senate side. and, again, nine new faces for the democrats in the senate. but their majority has lessened somewhat there. joe, back to you on the house side. >> sure. >> that the priorities have been laid out. but when you're talking about a delegate economy, perhaps in the middle of a double dip housing dip at this point, is there a risk of this backfiring in the economy tanks? >> well, what you want to do, of course, is stabilize the economy, do something about it, run away government spending and
that's why you hear members of the house and the senate doing something about obama care. they want to make sure they get government spending in check, that they cut away the layers of fat that are there and they want to create an economy that puts americans back to work. they want to make sure there are not governments in place. they want to make sure there are private sector employers who have the capacity to hire people who want to work. just remember, under 10% of the americans are not working. if you're one of those people, you want to get back to work as soon as possible. they're counting on the house and the senate to get things going. >> thank you very much. of course, we're keeping our eyes on capitol hill. again, we've just seen the vice president swearing in new senators, the freshman senators on the senate side. we're watching for what happens in the house there as well in the middle of the procedures there before john boehner will be sworn in as the new speaker. this was me, best ribs in nelson county,
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and there's the gavel opening up the 112th congress. it's been called to order and really now launches this new era. it has a split majority. the house under the control of republicans and the senate under control of democrats. and, of course, that would make the by partisanship all the more important to get any sort of legislative accomplishments achieved at this point. now, let me take you now. that's the live pictures we're seeing in the house where the families have convened, supporters and well-wishers of some of these new and -- this is
the senate we're seeing right now. and, again, we just saw vice president joe biden coming in and swearing in some of the new senators. that happens four at a time in alphabetical order. and, again, the big news here on the house side where you have the new speaker taking over and new leadership. so democrat as that point trying to map map out their path forward in a new era of split majorities, and the republicans are offering up this ambitious agenda of repealing democratic accomplishments. well, democrats have their work cut out for them. howard dean warned republicans against taking things too far. >> you've about got to have a compromise, which means you cannot give tax breaks to people who get a million dollars a year. it's good to see you today, governor. >> thanks, contessa.
>> so political opportunities for democrats here, the fact that republicans are laying out this ambitious agenda, that they want to make some major spending cuts, that they want to repeal health care reform, is there a way for democrats to capitalize on what the republican priorities are? >> contessa, i think, yes, in two ways. first, the republicans are already breaking a number of their campaign promises. and, second, they're showing that they're not fighting for middle-class americans. they're fighting for their campaign contributors. on the broken promises they said that they cared about the deficit but their repeal would inadvice the deficit over the next 20 years by over a trillion dollar according to the congressional budget office. they say they care about jobs. they're increasing costs to small businesses, which will hurt jobs. so those broken promises are a great opportunity for democrats. and we can also show that, look, by repealing health care, you're putting power in the insurance companies' hands to turn people
down for pre-existing conditions, taking prescription benefits away from seniors, telling families they can't keep their children on family insurance policies until age 26. they're fighting against american families. >> i was talking with strategists earlier this month about the tightrope walk john boehner has ahead of him. how do you think the tea party people will influence what happens over the next two years? >> well, it's a challenge being dynamic. he has certainly. there is that deep rift within his own caucus. i view this health reform appeal as a project. they know it's not going to go anywhere, that's why they're just going to try to do it early with no debate, no amendments, get it out of the way. so you're goichk to see that tea party influence significantly. but what i saw when i was
governor of virginia, it also gives an excellent opportunity for strong executive. when you've got a divided lechlk late your, the executive can be very strong and grab that microphone and grab the reins of government and grab it well. you're going to see that. they're going to persuade some republicans to get on board and do the right things for the economy and for our international relations and i think you're going to see the president continue that very progressive and kind of proactive executive approach with this divided congress. >> i just wanted to mention, we're showing a couple sets of live pictures here as our viewers are watching. on the left-hand side of your screen right now is what's happening in the house. this is a lot of handshaking and chatting among the lawmakers. a lot of them new, some of them more established lawmakers who have been there for quite some time. and, again, waiting now the arrival of the incoming speaker of the house, john boehner, who will take over the majority. that's the hallway now outside
of the chamber where we're watching for boehner's arrival. it's supposed to happen any minute. let me switch to the senate side and show now the fact that the vice president is swearing in another group of senators for the new session here and some of -- again, herb cohen there, leahy. we're seeing some of the more established senators joining the new group. but as i mentioned before, the smallest clash of freshman senator parties since 1915. on the republican side, they laid out this ambitious agenda. they want to vote on rules regarding openenness of congressional proceedings. here's john boehner now, just coming in to the house where his arrival is being awaited by lawmakers from both parties. we saw a rather defiant nancy pelosi. she says she doesn't regret any of her decision leading up to
this moment where she has to hand the gavel back to the republicans. and john boehner today says he's going to go into the house, and this is the people's house and this is the people's work he's doing, and here's the shot now of the whole broad chamber of the house of representatives. again, watching for boehner's arrival where he'll be sworn in as the next speaker of the house. the roll call has been made, the gavel came down at about 12:00 noon eastern time. a prayer and a pledge of allegiance leading in to this moment. a divided house now where accomplishing legislative goals requires democrats and republicans to work together from both chambers, but also in the house itself. and given the number of new lawmakers who've ridden in on the tea party wave of
enthusiasm, john boehner has to walk some thin ice here where he's appealing to those insist tent demand os testify tea party rupps, those who want to take very seriously the constitution, they say. they want to take very seriously a smaller government, smaller spending, giving people a chance to keep their own tax dollars in their pockets rather than forking them over to a government, and at the same time, john boehner, to get anything accomplished, has to, of course, find a way to negotiate with both sides of the house and form late bills that will get the approval of the senate and in the end ultimately the approval of president obama moving forward. we heard lindsey graham say the president would find willing partners in the republican party. and tim kaine stays with me now.
he's the head of the dnc. this has got to be a difficult moment, i would think, for nancy pelosi. after all, it was an ambitious agenda she accomplished in the last few years. and here he is coming in. and they'll both have a chance to speak today before this assembled group. tim, do you want to weigh in? all right. so we've lost governor kaine. you're seeing the representative from california. this is a moment now and, of course, the embattled new york congressman has had his share of troubles, guilty verdict in the ethics trial. behind him, peter cain. as we continue coverage my
colleagues andrea mitchell and chris matthews join me from washington. a momentous day, guys, for the republicans in the house. >> thank you, contessa. chris matthews in washington along with andrea. our special coverage of the opening of the 112th congress, it's the changing of the guard. the republicans, of course, take control of the house with john ba boehner taking charge. we expect him to be sworn in as the 53rd speak over the house. nbc's capitol hill correspondent kelly o'donnell joining us now. >> well, as you said, chris, this really is a changing of the guard. you get that feeling not only watching the floor, but just walking the halls around here in congress. the halls are packed with family members, well wishers. the galleries are packed with those who all want to see this unfold. right now we've already been watching on the senate side where vice president joe biden has been administering the oath of office to senators who were
newly elected, and re-elected, and all eyes are on the house floor as well as we expect really the major moment of the day when john boehner is presented. we'll also see some of the ceremony how his name is put into nomination. he'll have an opportunity to address his colleagues for the first time as the new speaker. and he'll talk about what he believes is kind of the mission of this new congress. some of the specifics about ways they want to change the way the business of the house is conducted, but also more of the mood of the country right now, saying they want to be able to get along. they may not always get it right. but putting focus back on the public. >> with us now nbc chief white house correspondent and political director chuck todd. he's also co-host on the rundown on msnbc and also mark whittaker
and political analyst of "the washington post," eugene. roberts gibbs, not unexpectedly stepping down. he will leave the white house. he'll be consulting outside the white house. a james carville mode. at the same time, other changes as well. >> everybody's now looking at the chief of staff role, where they've been talking to bill daley. it looks like pete rouse who had stepped in as an interim basis probably stays in the white house but drops back. the gibbs move is a little bit of musical chairs because david axelrod is leaving to go run the 2012 re-election campaign from chicago. david plouffe comes into the white house. the way gibbs is taking the plouffe role in washington,
being ahead of this area. >> when we see them gearing up, they're gearing up to face a much more energized new republican-run house. you've got daryl. they we've got a lot to gear up for, not just the campaign in 2012. >> they do. they saw what happened in november, and so what one hears from the white house is that they are doing exactly that. they're preparing for a different situation in washington. they're developing their strategy and tactics for dealing with the republican controlled house on a variety of issues, not just health care but potential attempts, for example, to defund the implementation of health care. the other things -- >> and food safety. >> food safety. >> new bill signed yesterday deerk fund that. >> debt limit. you saw them come out with a public barrage over the weekend about that. so they've been prepared for this for a while. and i think you're going to see them roll out their kind of
administration 2.0. >> this is an amazing team to be working with, by the way. i just realized who i'm working with. you're the best. let's bring in chuck todd. i'm in an amazingly good mood. after years working in house, i'm finally getting to see it on television. for years c-span has been restrict and these weird little shots. you don't even know if anybody's on the floor. i don't know if you see these hd pictures. they're spectacular. you realize what a grand chamber it is. you see the scoreboard. you see the guys milling among each other, men, women, their kids. if boehner is smart and he wants me to show this, he's going to have a photographic advantage you've never seen by actually letting people see the congress. it's a majestic setting and i'm overwelled by our technology. are we going to get an executive
branch that's run by an executive branch rather than a white house that's run by flacks and speech writers and no executive command? are they going to bring in people to make this place look like a white house now? >> well, yes or no. look. in fairness, it's a different obama 2.0. it's not a legislature. okay, the first two years wering legislating. guess what? the goal was they were learning from the mistakes of the clinton. work with congress a little bit. so in this case it was backus and harry reid. rahm emanuel, jill messina. these guys were creatures of capitol hill. now you're getting noncreatures of capitol hill coming in. so it's just a different white house that is going to be run.
billy daley, assuming he does come in, he is waiting to be offered the job. if he's offered, he's going to take it. that's the best reporting i have on that issue. it is going to be -- you call it managerial. they're just running a different white house because they've also got one eye on re-election and then they're going to be looking for ways that they can govern without having to deal with congress because it's a different way. there's a great story. one senator that i know of, a former senator, has been -- they've been talking to former senators, getting advice over the last three months. pete rouse has brought in a slew of these guys. tom daschles, those guys. bill clinton, right after the '94 elections, chris, asked for a whole lit of executive things he could do without working with congress where he could be president and that those are the types of things you're going to see this white house do in the next six to nine months. >> my main complaint -- i don't
want to ask you as the expert in the white house. when he had the mess with bp down in the gulf, there was never a clear sense of the president calling the shots. you had admiral allen out there and homeland security. you never had a real sense of i want this done or a top staff or chief of staffer says the president wants this done, getting behind the president. a clear sense like you get with secretary clinton and you get with secretary gates, the wonderful command you get. i've never seen it on domestic policy. are we going to see it now? >> reporter: yes, you are. the type of white house that rahm emanuel wanted to run and ran is two different things because ba he was brought in to fill this the gap that the cam paper team already was, so you have a team of people around president obama. what's been interesting about this search is number one they've kept really close council on this when it comes to deciding is it going to keep
pete rouse or get bill daley to come over. he's been keeping his thought process on the decision-making process. i do think you're seeing a president making this decision more on his own, maybe with input from vice president bind but really keeping close council. even some of his closest friends are not being kept fully in the loop on this. when you think about a bill daley, chris, when he comes in, he's going to be able to fill slots that rahm emanuel was not able to fill. axelrod was there, he was brought in after they were hired. that won't be the case if bill daley is brought in. >> chuck, one question i have is whether the president is going to sort of heal the seams in this new structure if there is a new structure and listen to bill
daley and whether there's going to be that. >> you can't expect that there won't be because you're going to have sort of the keepers of the flame. look, you had that same thing. remember when you had sort of clinton 1.0 versus clinton 2 pont 0. that team sort of -- when they rearranged things, it was the same people, just in different jobs. i don't think you're going the see the same tension. to the point that he will almost manage his way out of it. he doesn't like that kind of tension. president clinton enjoyed that tension. he didn't mind that people clashed, that dik morris and paul didn't see eye to eye. that was oklahoma with him. president obama doesn't like that. in fact, cabinet secretaries have learned don't bring it into the cabinet room. don't bring those fights in front of him. >> as we watched these extraordinary pictures you see nancy pelosi and john lewis,
civility rights icon. we're going to bring back in kelly odom from the hill. kelly, this is your day. as congress gathers, we see the children, we see the galleries. >> i love this stuff. >> look at these pictures. i have never in my life seen these pictures, kelly. you can see the high school aspect where they sit with their friends. see if nancy and he stand within feet of each other. the little cliques. now you can see it on television. there's steny and nancy. >> steny. >> and nancy. that's where they used to smoke in the back and they would never let the cameras back there because they didn't want to see the guys in the smoking caucus and the guys in the wet hair coming back from the gym and now we're getting to see these guys. the spitoons are going. >> this is the bird's-eye view
we get from the press gallery. they get to have a seat, watch this. as you pointed out, on most days, the floor is quite empty. the fiery speeches we often see are delivered with few people in the chamber. they're doing an attendance, which is why, of course, they're teaming with people. you do see extended family members and a lot of smiles and congratula congratulating. there were plenty of handshakes to go around as well. that process has been taken under way. they stagger this so the senate will be sworn into office before the house, and the house, of course, is in a celebratory mood if you're on the republican side and even democrats who are excited to be starting something new, you really get the sense of that today. it may be a short window, a short honeymoon before they get back to the nashing of teeth and fighting over the debate. one thing they will be
considering on is known as a package of rules. basically the way that this house will work and the rules make all the difference. if you're talking about playing a sport or trying a case in court, the rules have everything to do with what you can and cannot do and how you achieve your strategy. and so one of the first things they'll do is adopt their own set of rules for how they move forward. chris? andrea? >> right now they're going through the rules. let's listen to the chair. >> there's time when far too many of our countrymen remain unemployed, former small businessman will leave to house to pass policies to earn courage job creation. at a time when all agree our nation is on an unsustainable fiscal course, a fiscal reformer will ensure that this house never mortgages the torch of liberty in order to pay our debts. at a time when too many doubt that their children can enjoy a
brighter future in our country, he has lived the american dream and will protect it for our posterity like few others before him. this proud son of ohio, one of 12 children born into a working class family has waited tables, mopped floors, tended bar, worked construction, worked his way to a college degree at night school, led a thriving company, and through his faith, his hard work, his values, is now poised to become the next speaker of the house of representatives. he knows firsthand that unlimited opportunity can only arise from limited constitutional deposit. madam clerk, as chair man of the republican conference, i'm directed by the unanimous vote of that conference to present for election to the office of
>> you saw shots of john boehner's family. he's got 10 of his 1 1 siblings with him. they came o on a bus from ohio. they've had quite a day. a ceremony at one of the cathedrals here. and here comes the podium. >> as chairman of the democratic caucus, i am directed by vote of that caucus to present for election to the office of speaker of the house of representatives for the 112th congress, a person that gives me great honor and privilege, who has led with decency and dignity. i submit on behalf of this caucus the name of the honorable nancy d'alesandro pelosi, a representative of the great
state of california. [ applause ] >> the names of the honorable john a. boehner, a representative-elect from the state of ohio and the honorable nancy pelosi, a representative-elect from the state of california have been placed in nomination. are there other nominations? there being no further nominations, the clerk appoints the following tellers. the gentleman from california, mr. lungren, the gentleman from
pennsylvania mr. parade in the gentlewom gentlewoman. the tellers will come forward and take their seats at the desks in front of the speakers' rostrum. >> well, we've got jean from "the washington post." gentlemen, i mean, of course, i was throwing hoops and hollers to actually see the place i worked an we've covered for all these years. it is great to see this place in sort of hd television technology. you get a sense of the place. >> yeah. and i think a lot of people don't know how atmospheric the capitol is, especially when the chambers are in session and all the activity and this little group caucusing over here and
over there. >> it's exciting. >> it is exciting and a lot of exciting times. let's be honest, a lot of times people are giving a fiery speech. >> don't you liej the high school cafeteria aspect of it where people sit together. you see a number of african-american people sitting there, charlie rangel is being well celebrated with people around him. you get to choose you sit with. blue collar guys want to go home early, thursday night. >> what's interesting in the profiles that have been done about boehner, even his best friends aren't necessarily the leadership group that he's going to be working with. they're cooppeople, senators and so forth. this also reminds me of a big take your children and family to work day. it's a reminder that even the legislators who are in the mille of this realize that these are historic days. >> and you do remember four years ago, nancy pelosi, all of the symbolism of the first woman
speaker, surrounded by chirp and grandchildren. john boehner has been very careful not retreating from some of those reforms, the womens facilities off of the floor. in fact, he's improved on some of the invasions that you brought to bear because the last thing he wants to do, for instance, there have been nursing lounges in the last four years, which have become bipartisan places where women of both parties and staff members as well as members can get together and in a very confidential way share the challenges of motherhood and careers, and he's going to keep those innovations as well. >> i think it's nice, by the way. i was challenging the site of -- you're going to see nancy pelosi sitting within ten feet of steny. >> there was a news conference
and right biernd her was debbie wassermann schultz who has been openly resentful of not having been chosen for the leadership after having raised more money than any other single -- >> what did she do wrong in their eyes? >> she crossed pelosi's sights and has not endured herself. >> but it was also the fact that nancy pelosi stayed on, and that really -- you know, that -- >> exactly. >> so everybody moved back. they had to have this truce between steny hoyer. >> steny looked very good in the lame-duck session. he will always look good when there's a period of compromise. he's from a district in maryland. he wants to be part of that. he's not a lefty. he sees the opportunity, gene. >> what we're hearing is the voting. kelly o'donnell i want you to describe the voting. >> certainly. all the republicans had made a
decision back in the last congress they were going to put forth john boehner's name but it's not officialen tull this day because the speaker of the house is a constitutional officer, different from the other members, second in line to the vice president. so it really does take on something that's much greater than that. what we expect is after the voting is completed and the tally presented, we will see john boehner escorted from the rear of the chamber forward, and he'll be surrounded by members of the committee, some of the people who have been working on this. and i is also interesting that today we will have, as chris talked about, the opportunity to see the vote tally we saw earlier some shotting of when they took what's known as the quorum call and attendance test, if you will. boehn boehner's name with a "p" for present right next to it. so this brings out some of the old-school tradition in a fast world effort. they knock each other around
pretty hard on the campaign trail take moments like this with a great sense of reverence for the process and the institution. >> okay, kelly. let's take a look. we're going to go over to the other body, the united states senate, which is across capitol hill. part of the capitol building itself. we're going to see the senate in action. of course, it's a much smaller body, only 100 members. it's now going to be 53 democrats, 47 republicans. it's much tighter in its division than it was before this election. on television just the same way, they're all paying tribute to barbara moremurkowski, his fell senator from maryland. >> she's become the longest serving woman bypassing the legendary chase-smith of maine. >> like others before who preceded this guy,thy don't do
television very often. they get predicted pretty predictably. maryland's a pretty democratic state. they just serve the constituents in a very quiet non-tv way. >> going back to what you were saying on the house side and making it friendly for women, barbara murkowski has made it a point to welcome every senator from either party, female senators. i think she hosts an annual get together for them. so she's in her own quiet way overall these years, she's been a very important player. >> and i remember, in fact, when the women of the house marched over the hills which was so discriminatory against women.
>> let's go to kelly o'donnell. we were talking about barbara mikulski. >> now there are 17 women in the senate. andrea referencing 13 of them in times gone by. here's what happened. blanche lincoln of arkansas was defeated. in new hampshire judd was replaced. so the numbers remain the same and then the extraordinary victory of lisa murkowski who lost, won on a write-in cam pain. one who they've looked to possibly bridging the divide. and barbara mick cull ski and certainly her staff have looked forward to this day. she has really put her brand on some of the legislation here during the whole health care debate. she fought very hard for things like coverage for preventive
care for breast cancer and reconstructive surgery and getting mammograms done, things that really speak to women constitue constituents. she really led the way on that. she's a diminutive lady. i am in a place that's a viewing room. not far from us is the kennedy caucus room, named for the three brothers who served here. this is the first time in 60 years that there's no member of the kennedy family in federal service. that's a big kind of changing of the guard moment as well. it's a picked room. occasionally we hear eruptions of applause as they see members sworn in and pivotal moments here. so it's not just the chambers. . it's all over the campus of capitol hill. >> i don't know where the glass ceiling has gone or not. it probably isn't quite gone. but you notice how women do very
well in those coastal areas electively in terms of the united states senate. you have two women from washington state, two women from california, two women from maine, from new york, from maryland. you get inland and landlocked states it's tougher. i think it has to do with liberalism generally. port cities being more liberal than extracted states where they're -- your thoughts, kelly. i'm dieing to hear them. >> in texas you have hutchinson who ran for governor and remains in the senate. you do see -- it is unusual. many of the campaigns where you have women candidates they did not bring gender into the race which not long ago was certainly a lot of the part of the conversation. normally the 112th senate is also a senate that has no senate who's african-americans. when roland burris left, this is
entirely a white senate and that is certainly a change and it doesn't speak to the broughter complexion of the country. and certainly when it comes to women senators you have a generational divide. you have the youngest, kristen gillibrand from new york when hillary clinton left and the new generation with kelly ayotte and willie can'twell and senior members. chris, andrea? >> senator feinstein is having a knee replacement. she's been postponing that surgery for many months because during the lame-duck harry reid kept telling her, keep waiting, keep waiting, we'll be done soon. she's been in a lot of physical stress with that, so we wish her well. with the white house who's going to have to face the whole new team under the republican leadership, and chuck todd, as you're awaiting what could be a very interesting -- robert gibbs. gibbs has just come out.
we'll listen to what he has to say. he'll obviously have questions about his transition. >> we're crowded in here. >> i notice such a thing. many cameras. i see a number of christmas ties as well. fire away. >> happy new year. >> can you tell us a bit more -- in a bit more detail about what you're going to be doing there since you're not going to be lobbying or consulting? how would you define your next job? >> let me start by saying a few things. it is -- and you all know this because you do this as well, and that is it is an honor and a privilege to stand here, to work inside this building, to serve your country, to work for a president that i admire as much
as president barack obama. i've been a member of his staff for almost seven years, and it's -- again, it's a remarkable privilege. it is in many ways the opportunity of a lifetime, one that i will be forever thankful and grateful for. what i'm going to do next is step back a little bit, recharge some. we've been going at this pace for at least four years. i will have an opportunity. i hope to give some speeches. i will continue to provide advice and counsel to this building and to this president. i look forward to continuing to do that. >> in terms of advocacy for president are you looking forward to the potential freedom that will come from speaking but
not from behind that podium? >> no, look. you know, i -- we -- look. we're in a -- we're in a very different political environment than we've been in in a number of years in this country, and i think whoever stands here or whoever goes on television to make the case for this administration should be -- to be an advocate for the decisions and the policies that are coming from this building. you certainly have to play that role. i'm not going in order to be freed up to say a series of things that i might not otherwise say. i've enjoyed every time i've come out here. even on days when you -- i miss them every day when you wake up at 4:00 and pick up the paper and groan and have a sense of what the first several questions might be.
but i think it's important for this country and for the administration to come out here and advocate on behalf of and -- on behalf of its policies and answer your questions. >> and you talked about how long you've been next to now president obama. can you talk about the impacts that you think your leave willing have in concert with david axelrod and rahm emanuel? >> i will say this. one of the things you learn very quickly as you walk into this building each day, you are -- you're struck by the sense that -- of the history of this place, and you realize that whatever your length of service here, it is temporary in the long and wonderful history of our country. and i think it does an administration good, and i think it will do this administration good to have -- to have people
like david plouffe and others come into an administration who haven't been here, who have been able to watch a little bit from the outside. we all admit -- you have to admit there's a bubble in here to some degree. so i think having new voices and having fresh voices, some of those voices that are coming back from having taken a couple of years off are an important part of this process. i think they will serve the president well. even as people like david axelrod and i go outside of the building and have a chance to talk to the president and people here with a slightly different perspective of not driving in here each morning. so it's -- i think it's unique. i think it's -- but, you know, the truth is you walk around here and you see the history and such. i just reiterate again. you realize that forever how long you're here, it's temporary.
but what endures is -- what endures is our government, what endures is the great experiment of democracy which has proven to be a wonderful thing for the world. >> i have a couple of questions. one domestic and one. the incoming republican budget chief of the house, paul ryan, is saying he will demand spending conceptions. would the administration be willing to -- >> i think we're going to have to have a discussion. we are going to have a discussion about steps that are going totaken to get our fiscal house in order. we have -- we made some extraordinary decisions over the past several years, some in this administration, some in the previous administration to deal with the financial calamity, to
deal with the tremendous downturn in our economy and the job loss that it's brought. but we're not here -- i think it's important to understand, we're not here because of a series of decisions that just got made in the last six months. we're dealing with -- we're dealing with a series of decisions that date back quite a long time, that the bills have continually come forward and we're going to have to address them. what the exact specifics of those look like, obviously, that's part of the process that we're going to go through. but i hope that everybody approaches not just the exercise of fiscal responsibility and fiscal restraints here. i think what's important is you heard chairman goolsbee say this weekend, it's important to approach the upcoming vote as you mentioned, paul, and the debt limit in a way that's
responsible and in a way that doesn't threaten the full faith and credit of our government. >> the president obviously has -- on his mind. he stopped in to have a meeting with the chinese foreign monster at the white house yesterday. how hard is the president willing to push president hu on china's currency issue and the human rights? >> i think the issues that you mention will be on the agenda will be tremendously important. those are issues that came up yesterday in the meeting as you said that the president stopped by. china has to take steps to rebalance its currency and the president will continue to make the point when the president is here as he did with the foreign minister. i would say this. i would say that, you know, understand -- >> that's robert